Scripture: A reading from the Gospel of Matthew (26:69-75)
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus the Galilean.’ But he denied it before all of them, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ Again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’ After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.’ Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know the man!’ At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: ‘Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.
To read the Gospels, to hear stories of how Jesus challenged those with power and privilege to consider the realities of those who are marginalised and vulnerable, is to recognise that Jesus often behaved in counter-cultural ways. He prioritised love over economic systems, social constructs, and religious laws and practices. Throughout his life, death, and resurrection he called people to live in ways that comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
We live in a context where we could more easily be counted among the comfortable than the afflicted. How then, do we hear such challenges from the Gospels? Are we among those who conveniently forget the expectation that whatever we do to the least of these who are Jesus’ siblings, we do to him? To what extent do we prefer to deny the profound message of love proclaimed by Jesus so that we can continue to live as we do? How might our shortcomings be like the denial of Peter? What would it be like for us to have breakfast with Jesus and hear him say thrice to us “Simon son of John, do you love me?” (see John 21:15-19)
Prayer: Almighty God, Peter, the rock on whom you founded your Church experienced moments of weakness that were forgiven and transformed by your saving power. Help us to recognise our own weakness as we seek to trust your power to save in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Next: Stop 8: The Trial